The Russian Navy is continuing it’s development of the SS-N-30 Bulava Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile, despite numerous setbacks in the flight test phase. As of December 2009, there were 12 confirmed flight tests of the SS-N-30, with 7 being ruled failures, and perhaps 4 others not meeting all of the test parameters. The Bulava is designed to carry 10 MIRV to a distance of 8000 kilometers. Other sources suggest that the Bulava has a range of 10,000 km, and carries a 550 kT yield nuclear warhead. Another school estimates up to six MIRVs may be mounted by removing removing warhead shielding and decoys. Thus the warhead data is unclear at this time.
What may be said is that the Russians are full bent on upgrading their aging SSBN fleet, as the Bulava requires a new class of SSBN, being to large to be retrofitted onto existing classes. Having said that, the Typhoon-Class Dmitry Donskoi was retrofitted in at least one tube to take the Bulava, in order to act as test bed until the Borelei class comes on line. For more information on the Borei class, see the proceeding post. Whether the two remaining Typhoons will be retrofittied to use the Bulava remains to be seen, but that would be a logical move if Russian Navy finances allow.